Does our attempt to control reality create suffering?
Alan Watts discussed the concept of Ziran (or Spontaneity) on the Alan Watts Podcast
“Ziran means spontaneous, it happens as your heart beats, you don’t do anything about it, you don’t force your heart to beat, you don’t make it beat, it does it by itself. Now figure a world where everything happens by itself, it doesn’t have to be controlled, it’s allowed. Whereas the idea of God involves the control of everything going on. The idea of the Tao is the idea of the ruler who abdicates and trusts all the people to conduct their own affairs, to let it all happen, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t a unified organism and everything is in chaos, it means that the more liberty you give, the more love you give, the more you allow things in yourself and in your surroundings to take place, the more order you will have.”
Does our attempt to control each other make us sick? Is the desire for power and control the core human illness? The creation of all suffering and misery? Too strong? Maybe, but desire to control has led to most human atrocities.
Spontaneity has been one of my core values since I can remember. I feel trapped, almost claustrophobic when my life is over scheduled or externally planned. But anxiety about losing my free time is just another attempt at control, isn’t it?
One evening, I was sitting outside with the neighborhood parents when the ubiquitous subject of our children’s activities came up. A father said, “ya gotta teach ’em to keep busy. It keeps ’em out of trouble.”
To which I replied, “I’m trying to teach ’em to avoid being busy. You know, so they can do what they want to do.”
“So you’re trying to raise couch potatoes?” he said.
I let it go at that.
But I must ask …
Why do so many people assume that if children are left to their own devices that they will become blobs of glowing jello? Where is the evidence?
Is it just my perception, or have modern parents replaced corporal punishment with a more damaging form of authoritarianism, the complete domination of their children’s time and movement?
What is more disconcerting is the parents who try to control their children by pacifying them with High Fructose Corn Syrup and other overindulgences.
Or are these observations just judgments from another control freak?
Do you judge how others live… and the things they believe… do you find their way of life ‘politically incorrect” or low brow?
It’s hard to see it from the inside out.
“the more liberty you give, the more love you give, the more you allow things in yourself and in your surroundings to take place, the more order you will have.” – Alan Watts